Earthquake – an Experience in a Wonderful and Unpredictable World!

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It is known that our Mother Earth is dynamic and its seismic activities normal. Many of the Earth?s natural activities are now predictable because of the advancement of science. It is said that the earthquakes can not be predicted. But the impact could be measured and the epicenter be pointed out.


Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults. It?s the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth?s crust that creates seismic waves. Most earthquakes are produced along faults, tectonic plate boundary zones, mid-oceanic ridges, etc


We have experienced many natural happenings like cyclone, heavy rain, lightning and storms. Sometimes these have caused damage and losses too. But, personally I hadn?t experienced an earthquake, until April 16, 2013.


Two major earthquakes shook Iran and nearby areas in just one week in April, 2013 measuring 6.3 and 7.8 Richter scale. The 7.8 magnitude quake was said to be Iran?s most powerful in 50 years, killing 41 and damaging an estimated 2000 mud-built houses of Mashkail area, a town in Pakistani province of Baluchistan. This earthquake was felt across the region, India, and UAE too.


On April 16, 2013, I was in Abu Dhabi. Around 2.45 pm I was suddenly cautioned by my family members that the building was shaking! And it was really shaking! It might have shaken for 20-30 seconds! ?Fear is always inside the humans, but it is said that one should be brave during times like these?. But, is it really possible at that point of time? Although, I advised my family members not to panic, I felt as if I am going to faint. Thoughts like, “Is the building going to collapse?” crossed my mind. My family members were scared and restless. As a safety precaution we decided to vacate the building.


We were staying on the 9th floor. We rushed out of the building. We took the staircase instead of lift. While on 5th floor, a youth advised us not to panic, but I could sense the terror on his face and I asked him to vacate the building. As we were rushing down, I noticed that the inmates of many flats had rushed out keeping their flats wide open. There was a huge crowd gathered down near the building and many were in their house wear. Some people were standing in the shade of the buildings either because of the way they were dressed or maybe because of the temperature outside. It got me thinking, is it safe to be standing there? I, along with my family members sat in the middle of the road divider away from the buildings in the shade of date tree for some time.


Meanwhile phones were ringing insanely. One of our relative told us that his chair slipped backwards in his office and it felt as if he was falling out!


?I walked down the stairs from the 34th floor!? a lady from another office informed.


?I felt as if I fell out of my bed? another friend said.


During this time many other unsubstantiated rumors and news of aftershocks were also making rounds. As a precautionary measure offices in UAE were evacuated and declared a holiday.


As the situation was not clear to us, we went to a nearby park. The park was already full of people. I noticed, among many others, a family of around 25 members of children and elderly were ready with arrangement of food, chairs, beds etc. We too occupied a place and rested to return to our flat when dark.


It was later reported that the tremors felt in UAE were quite normal given the country?s close proximity to Iran and the coastal Makran rift of Pakistan that is considered to be the major fault lines of the world.


There were no injuries or structural damage by the tremors felt in UAE as a result of the 7.8 magnitude quake in Iran. It was reported that these buildings could withstand Earthquake, tremors between 5.5 and 6.0 on the Richter scale. The quakes impact in the UAE was estimated at 4-5 on the Richter scale. It is said that UAE is not a locally active seismic zone.


After this there were rumors that another earthquake would hit UAE between 25th and 30th April!


Condemning these rumors the authorities reiterated that there was no reason for public to worry as building construction practices were sound and the countries emergency systems in the event of a major calamity are solid. They said earthquakes could not be predicted.


During April 25th-30th there were thankfully no earthquakes but it rained heavily. In the month of April, there were number of earthquakes in other places. There was an earthquake in China where 200 lost their life and also one in Japan.


It?s really a wonderful and unpredictable world!

Author: Stany DSouza- Bajpe- Mangalore


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